In recent years, there has been renewal of interest in green technologies due to increasing energy costs. Energy saving can be achieved by means of behavioral change, technological change or organizational change. For instance, turning off an appliance that is not currently used is a behavioral change. Technological change refers to increasing energy efficiency via technical mechanisms. For example, using rechargeable batteries instead of ordinary ones and the introduction of low power consumption chips belongs to this type. Organizational change is usually realized by the enforcement of government laws and decrees.
In respect of technological change, energy saving depends on distributed monitoring and sensor measurement. M2M Infrastructure allows cost-effective integration and fast deployment of vast amount of remote devices. Hence, M2M technologies facilitate efficient sensor data collection and autonomous adaption of devices according to energy saving policies.
The current approaches are mainly based on smart meters, which make energy consumption information transparent to users and help to decrease standby power of home appliances not being used. Nevertheless, energy saving policy may fail to be timely and comprehensive based on the approaches mentioned above. Moreover, these approaches pay little attention to human comfort, which is of great importance in a smart environment.
The challenges of applying M2M to achieve energy saving can be summarized as follows. First, the system must be able to deal with large amount of context data gathered by ambient devices. Second, the system needs to solve the conflicts between energy saving policies and users’ preferences. Finally, the system can reconfigure multiple devices simultaneously with little or no user intervention. As a result, this proposal suggests a set of new approaches to deal with these challenges.